At OPTIFARM we run a process of fertility soil mapping to determine the variability within fields that affect the nutrient availability of the crop. This is done through a process of high-resolution soil scanning with a sensor platform that reads actual organic carbon, electro-conductivity of the soil and the PH level. Organic carbon is measured through an optical sensor using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, measuring two light wavelengths of infrared and near infrared. This process detects the colour of the soil and can accurately predict the organic carbon levels in the soil.
PH is measured through two highly calibrated sensors located on the back of the machine. These sensors are calibrated with buffer solution before all scanning takes place giving accurate readings of soil PH levels. Two electrodes are inserted into a small opening in the ground every 20 meters at predetermined intervals, and records two PH values, logged onto the map instantly.
We create a hedgerow to hedgerow digital map of the field showing the different zones of OM, EC and PH. These maps allow us to strategically collect the soil samples for lab verification.
Once the sample points have been GPS located the soil cores are taking with an automated soil sampler allowing for consistent depth samples to be taken.
The samples are then sent to the lab for analysis and once the information is returned, we calibrate the fusion maps from the scanner to the lab results. This is an important step as this means the information we deliver to the customer is complete lab verified maps of their fields. Once we have the results from the lab and the fusion maps back, we are able to accurately reflect how the soil is impacting on the distribution of the nutrient balance to the plant. This gives us an industry leading insight into soil health and how to enhance it.
LIFE OF FIELD
The mission of the ‘Life of Field’, is to help farmers and their advisors make profitable precision decisions by providing a network of tools to monitor and manage soil variability.